Monday, November 12, 2012

Remembering Papa

I am posting the eulogy I wrote and read at my grandfather's funeral in 1997 in honor of Veteran's Day because he was a military man through and through. It's hard to believe it's been fifteen years. My Papa, Paul Baker, left an amazing legacy for me and for my family. I pray that I will leave this kind of legacy for my children and grandchildren. 

A Tribute to Papa (Written November, 1997)

I would like to honor my grandfather by sharing some of my memories of him. There are really no words sufficient enough in the human language to portray the life of a man that had such an impact on my life. But I will share a few thoughts with you.

Papa was probably best known for his storytelling. If you had a listening ear, he loved to tell a story. Some of the stories were true, but sometimes I think he had a wild imagination. He always made me laugh. One of my favorite tales of his was about an usher at church that got tongue-twisted and muttered these words to the guests, "Mardon me Padam, this pie is occupued, let me sew you to your sheet." Anyone who knew him heard him share this tale among many others.

Papa was always proud of his heritage. He loved to talk about his ancestors. I will always remember how orderly Papa lived his life. The military definitely influenced him. He lived by the clock. He loved routine and was very predictable. One of my favorite memories was when I was a teen. I was visiting at my grandparents’ house. One morning I got up early to go to the bathroom with hopes of getting back in bed for more sleep. But when I returned, Papa had already made my bed.

Of all my memories, the thing that stands out in my mind the most when I think of my grandfather is the godly character he had. He was never the type to preach or talk a lot about spiritual things. But his faith was evident by the way he lived his life. He loved and stayed committed to his wife through the good times and the hard times. He was truly the ideal father and grandfather. He raised two wonderful children and I know Jeff and Ashley would agree that he brought great joy into our childhoods.

I especially remember how Papa loved to take us to cemeteries to read headstones. He loved history. I remember waking up to the reveille. I can still hear him singing, “ I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up, I can't get 'em up in the morning...." I remember all the trips to the store to buy ice cream. It had to be Breyers! I remember the hours he spent teaching me how to parallel park. He was the one who took me for my driver's test after I failed it two times.

These are just a few of my memories of my grandfather. I could write a book about Papa. He invested a lot of time in his family. And I know he was pleasing to the Lord.

In our culture, advertising provides many images of manhood—things like sports, cars, drinking beer, and smoking cigars. But Papa was a real man. He had courage and strength. He was kind, gentle, and loving. He was a man of honor.

I will close with a scripture that seems fitting of Papa's life.

Ephesians 4:1-2..."As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

Live Abundantly!

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